UFC flyweight Paige VanZant, last seen in husband Austin Vanderford’s corner at Bellator 215, is the latest athlete set to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Paige VanZant is stepping out of the octagon and into the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swinsuit Issue. VanZant announced the news on social media this week, and was already seen on location shooting for her spread in the magazine. A former strawweight who recently moved to flyweight, VanZant (8–4) picked up her most recent win in the UFC at UFC Brooklyn in January. There, she submitted Rachael Ostovich in the second round.
VanZant had been linked to a second fight later this year at UFC 236, against two possible opponents, but it appears a broken arm has forced her off that card. It hasn’t kept her from a beach shoot with SI, however. On social media, VanZant shared some behind the scenes footage from Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta. “One of the smaller suits of the day. I am having to get a little bit comfortable in front of this whole crew,” she said in a self-shot video to her over two million Instagram followers.
In a second posting on the SI Instagram, VanZant added her thoughts on joining the long-running Swimsuit Issue. “I feel like when you’re in Sports Illustrated, that means you’ve made it. It’s a really big deal,” she said. “I’m mostly excited for people to see this side of me. I think people do forget that yes, I’m a professional fighter, my hair is cornrowed all the time. I punch people in the face for a living, but I’m really cute, too.”
We’re not sure anyone has actually forgotten that, but if they have, this will certainly be a reminder.